Deaf student wins case against school

first_imgGLENDORA – Samantha Solorzano, a deaf sophomore at Glendora High School, cried tears of joy after she and her family won a lawsuit against her school requiring it to provide her with a real-time transcription of her classes. Then, June 7, the school appealed. In court documents, the district called having a court reporter transcribe classes an “extreme solution” that could intimidate other students. “I feel mad that they won’t give up … I want to hear what everybody’s saying,” said the 16-year-old. She doesn’t enunciate much, but she is understandable. Being deaf since birth hasn’t kept Solorzano from attending regular high school classes, but it has kept her from joining classroom discussions. She has several ways of understanding what people say, from lip reading to a cochlear implant in her left ear, although she still might need people to repeat themselves. Her teachers have microphones so their voices are transmitted to her hearing aid. “We have an obligation to provide students with what they need … but we try to distinguish between what would be needed and what is just helpful,” McNevin said. The appeal could take one or two years, but Solorzano’s attorney, David M. Grey, said federal laws will require the school to provide captioning during the appeal – but he will have to get a court order for it. [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2730 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! But most students sit behind her and she can’t always see their lips. Since she doesn’t know what they’re saying, she doesn’t want to speak, she said. So in May 2006, Solorzano and her family asked the school to provide a transcription service, which is used in several area high schools and colleges. A court-reporter style “captionist” would sit in class with Solorzano, typing what the teachers and students said word for word for her to read on a computer screen, or projected onto a classroom screen. But the school disagreed, saying in court documents that captioning was unnecessary. It would also cost upward of $35,000 per year. The school offered other options, including a sign language interpreter and the note-taker. So in November, the family sued, and they won in May. Glendora High School appealed last week. Ted McNevin, the Glendora Unified School District’s director of instructional and student support services, said he couldn’t talk about Solorzano’s case for confidentiality reasons, but spoke about special education programs. last_img read more